History Lesson of the Month
In August 1777, British troops under Gen. John Burgoyne were finding the march from Fort Ticonderoga to Albany, N.Y., a difficult one.
Not only was the terrain hostile, but colonists Burgoyne thought would be loyal to the crown were proving anything but; and colonial troops under Philip Schuyler had scorched the crops and scattered the cattle as they retreated ahead of Burgoyne’s march, making foraging difficult. And Burgoyne suffered 800 casualties — one-seventh of his army — when Gen. John Stark and a troop of American farmers attacked his force near Bennnington, N.H.
Tuesday passed by largely unnoticed as a day of historical significance. I suppose it’s a sign of the times that Constitution Day would slip by almost unmentioned and essentially uncelebrated. However, 226 years ago Tuesday, the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia (May 14-Sept. 17, 1787) was closed with the signing of the Constitution by a majority of the delegates. The Constitution would not be ratified for another 10 months.
President George W. Bush was reported to have once said, in so many words, the Constitution is just a piece of paper. That report has since been debunked by even the Bush-haters as coming from an unreliable source and not likely true. But it seems lately the psychopaths walking the halls of power in the Washington, D.C., cesspool mostly feel that way. Certainly they govern that way, as did Bush, Bill Clinton and others.
On Aug. 16, 1841, the banksters and their Whig minions reared their ugly heads in Washington, D.C., reacting violently to the veto of a bill that would have created a Second National Bank.
President John Tyler said — rightly — that he vetoed the bill on Constitutional grounds, adding that it would infringe on States’ rights. “The power of Congress to create a national bank to operate per se over the Union has been a question of dispute from the origin of the Government… my own opinion has been uniformly proclaimed to be against the exercise of any such power by this Government,” he said.
In the early morning hours of July 19, 1969, a black Oldsmobile sedan turned down a narrow dirt road and careened away in a cloud of dust. As the car approached a wooden bridge that sat at an oblique angle to the road, it failed to slow. Too late, the driver realized his error. The car dropped over the side of the bridge, turned over and plunged into the Poucha Pond.
The driver escaped the overturned and water-filled car. A 28-year-old female passenger did not. What followed doomed the Presidential aspirations of 37-year-old Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy.
On June 21, 1788, the U.S. Constitution became the law of the land after New Hampshire became the ninth State to ratify it.
The Constitution had been signed on Sept. 17 of the previous year; and by the end of December, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut had all ratified it. But Article VII dictated that the document had to be ratified by nine States to become law. Other States were holding out because they believe it failed to adequately address freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, States’ rights and other political freedoms.
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision, ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in public educational facilities was unConstitutional. The case was brought on behalf of Linda Brown, a young black girl from Topeka, Kansas, who had been denied admission to her local elementary school on the basis of her skin color.
At the time, public facilities were segregated based on the justification that a 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. But in Brown’s case, the all-white school she wanted to attend was closer to her home and was far superior to the all-black school that other children of her skin color and from her neighborhood were required to attend.
By mid-April 1775, Paul Revere recognized that English General Thomas Gage was preparing to move against patriot leaders. Although most of them had left Boston and the surrounding area, Revere and Dr. Benjamin Church and Dr. Joseph Warren remained. Revere vowed to stay and serve as messenger when needed.
On April 15, Revere and Warren met to discuss their thoughts on Gage’s plans. They decided he probably intended to move on Concord to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock and to seize arms stored there. The next morning, Revere rode to see Hancock and found he and Adams had returned to Hancock’s birth home in Lexington, having returned after the Provincial Congress had adjourned. They asked Revere to warn Concord residents about their suspicions.
On March 22, 1765, the British government passed the Stamp Act on the American colonies.
Coming on the heels of three other major tax increases (the Sugar Act, the Currency Act and the Quartering Act), the Stamp Act more than any other gave impetus to the growing independence movement in the Colonies. It created an easily articulated grievance against what the colonists saw as Great Britain’s efforts to undermine their economic strength and independence.
On Feb. 21, 1848, The Communist Manifesto was published in London by a group of revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League.
Written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the pamphlet summarized the doctrines of the League, which was a group of German workers living in London. While in Brussels in January 1848, Marx wrote the pamphlet; it was essentially a rewrite and expansion of a model tract Engels wrote for the League in 1847.
Following comments from an unnamed British officer to Parliament that the British need not fear the colonial rebels, because “Americans are unequal to the People of this Country [Britain] in Devotion to Women, and in Courage, and worse than all, they are religious,” Benjamin Franklin penned this reply which was published in the London newspaper, the Public Advertiser, on Feb. 7, 1775.